- REUTERS/Daron Dean
The new book from columnist Michael Wolff has taken political and media circles around the country by storm, particularly for providing a rare behind-the-scenes look at several turning points of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the first aughts of his presidency.
Excerpts of Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” reportedly sourced from over 200 interviews during an 18-month time span, were distributed to various publications and have since painted a sometimes embarrassing picture of current and former White House officials and life in the West Wing.
Some of the wilder tales have raised eyebrows. Skeptics have gone so far to as to question their validity, including the New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman who on Wednesday called some of the book’s claims “thin but readable.”
“Well written. Several things that are true and several that are not. Light in fact-checking and copy-editing,” Haberman wrote on Twitter.
Following the release of some of the more tantalizing details, Trump, his family, and White House officials went on the offensive by casting doubt on the book’s legitimacy and railed against some of Trump’s critics who were quoted in the book.
“This book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section,” Stephanie Grisham, communications director for the first lady Melania Trump, said in reference to the claim that she burst into tears – “not of joy” – when Trump was poised to win the 2016 presidential election.
Here are some of the wildest portions of the book so far:
Bannon called the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, a Russia-linked lawyer, and others “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
- Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Bannon’s tirade against the Trump family did not end with Ivanka.
According to Wolff, he was also quoted as saying that the controversial meeting between Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and Trump’s son-in-law; Donald Trump Jr.; and Russian lobbyists in June 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers,” Bannon reportedly said in the book, according to The Guardian.
“They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Bannon continued.
Bannon reportedly suggested that Trump Jr. may have taken “these jumos up to his father’s office on the 26th floor.”
Bannon went on and reportedly said that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election, would “crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV.”
Trump passed on nominating an official because of his mustache.
“Bolton’s mustache is a problem. Trump doesn’t think he looks the part,” Bannon reportedly said. “You know Bolton is an acquired taste.”
Bolton served as US ambassador to the UN between 2005 and 2006.
Amid reports that he was left out of the running for secretary of state when Trump was assembling his Cabinet, Bolton shaved off rumors of a tweet in December: “I appreciate the grooming advice from the totally unbiased mainstream media, but I will not be shaving my #mustache,” Bolton said.
Steve Bannon called Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick.”
- Thomson Reuters
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, whose relationship with some of Trump’s members was apparently strained in the waning days of his tenure in the White, called White House senior adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick,” according to Wolff’s book.
Bannon was eventually fired from the administration, shortly after White House chief of staff John Kelly began regulating traffic in the West Wing. Bannon has since embarked on a personal crusade to support antiestablishment congressional candidates for the upcoming midterm elections.
After Ivanka publicly criticized Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore amid a ballooning controversy over his sexual-misconduct scandal, Bannon quipped and referenced her previous remarks: “There’s a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better.”
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Trump said, following the release of the book’s excerpts. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
Kellyanne Conway went job-hunting because she thought Trump would lose the election.
- Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway reportedly was looking into high-profile on-air media jobs during the last days of the 2016 election because she thought Trump would lose.
While the book claims that Conway was prepared to blame Trump’s expected loss on former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, she was also interviewing for jobs on news outlets, according to Wolff’s book.
Trump eats McDonald’s because he fears being poisoned.
- Will McNamee (Getty Images)
Trump’s love for fast food was linked to a his fear of being poisoned, according to Wolff.
“Trump ‘had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s – nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade,'” Wolff wrote.
Trump has previously been reported to order two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish sandwiches, and a large chocolate shake for his meal, according to Trump’s former aides.